Under the leadership of State Senator Andrew Maynard, New London County has received a state grant of $250,000 to support efforts to prevent homelessness of families and to re-house homeless families and single adults. United Way of Southeastern Connecticut will serve as the grantee, working in close cooperation with local providers of service to the homeless.
On Tuesday, October 16, 2012, United Way formally launched the fund as service providers, legislators, and community members gathered at United Way to learn more about the fund. Pictured in the photo at right Lisa Tepper Bates (right), Executive Director of Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality and Virginia L. Mason, President & CEO of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, present Senator Andrew Maynard with a certificate of appreciation for his help in securing the funding.
Since December, 2011 New London County providers (Covenant Shelter, Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality (MASH), Thames Valley Council for Community Action Shelter, and Safe Futures – formerly the Women's Center of Southeastern Connecticut) have worked together in a unified intake system to offer emergency shelter to homeless families. The providers collaborate as one system – rather than as separate agencies in separate silos – enabling them to respond more quickly to the needs of families who are homeless while making better use their combined resources. This type of system is a best practice recommended by the Federal government and New London County is the first region in the state to develop one.
"This special funding opportunity will allow us to put our improved coordination to work to help families before they are literally homeless and in urgent need of shelter," said Lisa Tepper Bates, the Executive Director of MASH and the coordinator of the family providers' group. Providers of services to single adults, the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, TVCCA, Thames River Community Service, and Norwich Human Services will work in concert with the family services providers to re-house those who are homeless and in shelter or living in unacceptable situations, such as in cars or outdoors, in New London County.
"The New London County Fund to End Homelessness represents an important opportunity for us to achieve sustainable housing solutions for homeless single adults, as well as families," said Cathy Zall, Executive Director of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center.
These additional resources are critically important in these times of rising homelessness and given the struggling local economy. The Norwich-New London corridor has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the ten regions of the country that is slowest to recover from the recession.
"United Way of Southeastern Connecticut is pleased to serve as the grantee for these funds, in a close partnership with the front-line providers of these essential services," said Virginia Mason, President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut. "United Way has committed to work with the provider partners to ensure that targeted financial assistance can be delivered quickly to those in urgent need. We know that preventing homelessness is far less costly than managing the symptons after someone becomes homeless. This is a critical step in preventing a problem before it starts and giving everyone the opportunities for a good life."
Families and single adults in New London County facing imminent homelessness should call the United Way statewide assistance hotline by dialing 2-1-1 for assistance. It is a free call from anywhere in the state of Connecticut, and professional caseworkers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.